MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said that United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) commander Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha should review all his actions to the Filipino contingent during the height of the Golan Heights stand-off before calling the Filipino decision to breakout from Position 68 an act of cowardice.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP public affairs office chief, said that the UNDOF commander could have ended the stand-off much earlier had he ordered the immediate repositioning of the Filipino officers and enlisted personnel on Position 68 once word reached him that Syrian rebels were encircling the detachment in an attempt to force troops there to surrender their weapons.
The stand-off took place Thursday (Syrian time). Earlier, 44 Fijians were captured by the Syrian insurgents after laying down their arms.
“Gen. Singha, instead of bringing his men to safety, even allowed us to continue (the) seven-hour firefight when he could have repositioned us earlier together with Position 69 (which was extricated with the help of the Irish armored contingent Saturday (Syrian time), but he did not, he left us there, our ammunition (was) low and he told us (that) if we are attacked again, (just) to lay down our arms and raise the white flag,” he added.
“Now what’s cowardice, his orders or us doing what is the best option to save Filipino soldiers lives,” Zagala stressed.
Filipino soldiers, in Position 68, managed to extricate themselves from their encircled detachment early Sunday morning (Syrian time).
The AFP public affairs office chief also clarified that the mission of the Filipino contingent was not to defend the UN outpost but to ensure that the military forces of Israel and Syrian from fighting in the Golan Heights.
Zagala also pointed out the fact that despite being outnumbered by the Syrian rebels, the Filipinos in Position 68 successfully defended their detachment without no loss to themselves.
He also stressed that Singha’s order to surrender weapons, without resisting, and raising of the flag, is the act of cowardice.
“To endanger our troops unnecessarily is the act of cowardice and (the order) to surrender firearms and raising the white flag (when under attack) instead of repositioning them, I think that’s the act of cowardice,” the AFP public affairs office chief stressed.